Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season before it’s too Late

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season (June through November) could result in up to 19 named storms; and six to nine of those could become hurricanes.

Hurricanes bring torrential rain, flooding, storm surges and devastating winds that damage homes and other property. Keeping your home and family safe during a hurricane takes a great deal of advanced planning.

First, ensure that you have appropriate home insurance in case your home or other property is damaged. Then, find out if your home meets current building codes for high wind regions. Homes that meet or exceed building codes have a better chance of surviving.

Fortify Your Roof

Roof damage is the biggest reason for insurance claims after hurricanes. If your roof is damaged, water can get in and soak the insulation, which can lead to ceiling collapses and damage to your furniture and other belongings. If your roof blows off entirely, the likelihood of your walls collapsing and complete destruction of your home is greater.

Here are some things you can do to help fortify your existing roof:

• Nail or caulk loose roof tiles or shingles
• Check for rust and loose anchoring on metal roofs
• Install hurricane straps
• Brace the ends of all gables
• Install a backup water barrier under the roof cover

Fortify Windows and Doors

Broken windows and doors allow wind and rain inside, damaging the interior of your home. In addition, once the wind gets inside it will apply upward pressure on the roof, increasing the likelihood of it blowing off.

Hurricane-resistant window and door coverings can include various types of shutters, screens, panels and sheeting as well as impact resistant windows and doors. You need to protect windows, sliding patio doors, entry doors and garage doors.

For windows, permanent storm shutters offer the best protection. If that is not the right option for you, simply taping the windows will not work. Use 5/8-inch thick marine plywood cut to fit and ready to install to board up your windows in advance of a storm.

Prepare Your Yard

Much of the damage caused by a hurricane is from flying debris. Common outdoor items can be picked up and thrown by the wind, so don’t forget to prepare your yard.

• Keep trees and shrubs well trimmed
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts
• Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down

Don’t forget to review your home insurance policy to be sure that it is up to date and to know what it covers before the storm hits. Keep your insurance policy and any other important papers with you during the storm.

Have you ever experienced a hurricane where you live? What did you do to prepare your home? Did you have any damage?

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